Finding My Tongue & Learning To Speak

For many years I held my tongue about things that mattered, things that hurt me, things that stifled us, things that caused us to be afraid. I used to feel that everyone else was braver than me. I saw them speaking up even when they knew that telling unpopular truths would cause backlash. All I could think was, "I wish I could be like that." But I was extremely afraid.

If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.
— Zora Neale Hurston´╗┐, author of 'Their Their Eyes Were Watching God´╗┐

I had a motormouth on me up until about the 6th grade. A series of traumatic events brought on severe social anxiety that I battled well into my twenties. Fear, everyday with no immediate reason... just... fear. Anxiety. Stomach in knots. Wanting to speak up, wanting to contribute, wanting to be courageous but lacking the power. It took a long time to understand all the hows and whens and whys and to really deal with the social anxiety head-on instead of just accepting it as a constant in my life. I could be a Truth speaker if I chose. I had to choose.

As I wrestled with fear and bravery, truth and falsehood, right and wrong, courage and cowardice... all I could think was, "I've started to become who I was always meant to be and my God, I'm still standing."

I have, as we ALL have, powered through some hellish things in my life. There had to be a reason. There had to be a reason that at 29 years old I am more whole than the odds would ever have predicted. There had to be a reason that even though silence prevailed for many years, I have now started to understand and embrace the power in my voice.

One thing I have learned over the past few years of really digging into myself to become the person God created me to be is this: Being silent has never and will never serve our higher selves. Being quiet for fear of being misunderstood or retaliated against is in a very layered sense...self-torture. To swallow a Truth that could be our freedom, someone else's freedom only to protect our feelings is to actively practice a most intricate kind of violence against the self.

And what of the words we've left unspoken?

What crime could they have prevented?
What eyes could they have opened?
What heart could they have softened?
What life could they have saved?

We don't see ourselves as majestically as we should. We have been created in the image of an Almighty God. He has the power to shift entire bodies of water, cure the incurable, and command mountains to bend their knees.

In our humanity, we have a very real and very powerful measure of the God who created us. We are endowed with power that too often we choose to fear and never tap into. We allow fear to keep us from using our power, our voices...and as a very serious result, we slowly kill ourselves and those who could be, should be receiving the life we have in our power to give.

Not for vain ambition or notoriety but for the cause of humanity and God-given Purpose... We have to be vocal. Even if it's difficult at first. That's alright. It gets easier every single time we dare. We have to be adamant about speaking our Truth in Love, making our pain known when we are hurting, speaking words of affirmation over those who've done nothing to deserve it, saying the hard things when no one else will.

It's not a matter of IF we can; it's solely and plainly a matter of WHEN we will.

and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive
— Audre Lorde, writer, womanist, civil rights activist